HELD FILM REVIEW

If I were still able to create MOVIEDROME or NEODROME introductions (and I am not for tedious legal reasons), then there is a list of some 30 films I would like to spread the message about. For that is what Moviedrome was really about. It mattered little the face or voice spreading the message (to some and most film fans love to find new films.) Even less it seemed what they had to say. After watching Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing HELD, I would add it to the list gleefully. Ostenisibly a tale of marital breakdown, it is also an addition to the locked in genre films, that challenged the balance of home invasion film genre. Jill Awbrey, the films writer and star, is Emma. A survivor of untold horrors, who lives, breathes and even holidays, in a secure space that she can control every element of. Her choice of holiday home is a bunker like rental in the middle of no where. Here is a character study in the literal sense. Its hard to establish a character, less to make them inhabit somewhere alien, but Awbrey script adds enough florishes to define and refine Emma. She is neurotic and driven by an impluse that feels nihalistic but is more natural for a surviour. To be atuned to the emptiness post the event that robbed you of any hope of normality.

Her husband Henry, played by Bart Johnson, is the only other allowed there at any given time during her stay. Fair enough. Johnson plays the role with a detachment that has come in for flack from the critical chomping types. They miss some of his and the directors rationale, that he is the canvas and Awbrey the painter, projecting onto him. Sad that but its probably the issue of it being a piece written for the writer. Now marital bliss has eluded them for many years and now they are about to be tested to a degree unexpected. As you see the safe space Emma hired to vaction in, is actually a prison. The security system, a clever trap and when a voice commands them to do what he wants, then they have no choice but obey. Here is where HELD actually becomes very unsetteling. The idea of personal space ruptured and being intruded upon, is not new. What is, is the idea that it is so charged.The film is about how this attack on personal freedom, is an attack on a space that is both theoretical (domain) and personal (body). Sadly the film falls down occasionally but we should commend it for at least trying. It is trying to make a statement and discuss something more compelling in a world of social media and social madness.

 

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